Our Savior stood on the mountaintop surrounded by the masses when He declared to His disciples, “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).” They were, indeed, the blessed but those blessings would come in most unexpected ways. It was not the spiritual supermen but the spiritually poverty stricken, not the comfortable but the mourning, not the assertive but the gentle, not the satisfied but the starving souls, not the sternly strict but the merciful, not the hard-hearted but the pure-hearted, not the troublemakers but the peacemakers that comprise this illuminating force.
Jerry Taylor, the founding director of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action at Abilene Christian University described the current state of our country as one of “spiritual disorientation and social disintegration.” The latter is visible, a result of the former which we cannot see. Internal darkness produces a life of confusion and frustration which will find expression in actions. The urgency of the Christian mission to be light-bearers has never been greater.
In the beginning the world was without organization, content or light. Before He ever gathered the land, sea and atmosphere; prior to animals, birds, fish and humans; God spoke light into existence. His word does that. It creates. It enlightens. It shapes and molds. It reveals. Without it we would forever bump into furniture. Or sin. We would be disoriented. No God. No word. No direction or understanding. Confusion frustrates. Boom. Social disintegration.
God saw the light was good. Oh yes, He sees and He saw the goodness that His word had produced. A quick glance through the creation account tells us that it was all good. Bad didn’t slip in until His word was discarded. It took the light with it and left a black hole. Darkness went from external to internal. Murder in the family followed. Evil spread. A flood came. A handful survived. Much more than a handful did not. They had rejected the light and their hopes went with it.
Despair. It captures the essence of the darkness. The appearance masquerades the loneliness. It is painted over with bright colors of money, fame, success, immorality, drugs and fun, but when the party ends the picture changes. The mask is removed. It is a charade. Inside, there is only emptiness…deep, dark emptiness. Life without the light is ultimately very sad and lonely. Alone without God, and nothing but more of the same in the future. Is it any wonder that social disintegration follows spiritual disorientation?
God separated the day from the night and named it. He was pleased. His word still speaks to us and we either accept or reject it. Those who receive it find a new spiritual orientation and become light in the dark sea of those who do not. The world needs that. Light was the Lord’s first act in organizing His creation. That should tell us something.